The Envy Battle
Has envy ever crept up on you while you were unsuspecting? Does the grass of other people look greener from where you stand? Sometimes in our day-to-day struggles, it often seems that everyone else’s life looks easier. I can feel the rise of this greener grass envy, when I take the time to peruse through social media sites. It certainly seems like in the world of ”Fake Facebook Believe” that everyone’s life is certainly better than mine; with their perfect families, over achieving and mega talented children, and plush vacations. If I allow the greener looking grass to consume my thoughts, I can find myself losing hope in the life I have. But in reality, the grass is not really greener, it is just a different shade of brown than mine but from my fence post far away from reality, it looks different and better.
There is a humorous poem I read recently, that illustrates that sometimes the greener grass really just depends on which side of the fence you happen to be standing on. Envy is not always justified, when you see life from both perspectives.
She cooked the breakfast first of all,
Washed the cups and plates,
Dressed the children and made sure
Stockings all were mates.
Combed their hair and made their beds,
Sent them out to play;
Gathered up their motley toys,
Put some books away.
Dusted chairs and mopped the stairs,
Ironed an hour or two;
Baked a jar of cookies and a pie,
Then made a pot of stew.
The telephone rang constantly,
The doorbell did the same;
A youngster fell and stubbed his toe
And then the laundry came.
She picked up blocks and mended socks,
Then she polished up the stove;
And when her husband came at six
He said, ”I envy you!
It must be nice to sit at home,
Without a thing to do!
It seems that often we view other people’s lives, from only our perspective and sometimes we envy what appears to be an easy or trouble-free life, but often that is not the case. When we see the seemingly success of others who appear to have mega blessings, or maybe prospers gained from having no qualms about doing wrong, it can be discouraging. It is especially easy to get down when you see the gains achieved with little thought to what God wants, as it makes us question our own faith and life. So how do we overcome such feelings of envy? There is only one way and it is by having a personal responsibility to God and His laws, no matter what others around us are doing and seem to gain.
The Bible clearly tells us that if we will put aside our feelings of envy, delivered rewards comeÂ and our hope will have a very non-disappointing future. This week our focus verse really hits home, on what can often be a sneaky sin, for if we allow envy to consume our thoughts and question our own hope, we can quickly find ourselves going down the wrong path. The true rewards in life are found only by serving God through our faith and honor. We can gain our strength through this hope, and battle sneaky envy by being satisfied with what we do have.
Paul teaches us this lesson, in Philippians 4:11-13, as he tells of his own experience of learning to live with what life deals him. He draws his strength from Christ, as it is through his responsibility to God that he places all hope upon, and thus dispels the consuming destruction of envy.
Obviously living life in a seemingly unfair world is not a new phenomenon. Envy has been around from the beginnings of creation, as it was envy that caused the problems between Cain and Able ending in a disastrous means. But James 4:6 tells us that God has given us the grace to stand against it.
The rewards of this world can be very tempting, which is often where envy comes into play, but we must continue to honor God for who He is and what He stands for. Those who ignore this will have no future, for their temporary unjust rewards will be their only gain. But for believers who have a personal responsibility to God, the rewards are endless.
The battle of envy is won through our responsibility to God. It is God who is supreme above all and it is Him, who we should honor and strive to please.
You will be rewarded for this: your hope will not be disappointed. Proverbs 23:18 (NLT)
Winning the Fight with Responsibility
”Envy is ignorance.” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. And so it is time we educate ourselves to battle the tantalizing sin of envy and greed, as we look to following the will of God, through some practical ways of using the weapon of responsibility. It begins through our faith to follow God and His laws, knowing that in the end, the reward of joining him will be above all earthly gains. This does require us to discount the things of this world and put aside the thinking that worldly pursuits will satisfy and fulfill our needs. So let us lay envy down and be filled with the joy of satisfaction by considering some very practical steps to reach earthly contentment.
- Give Thanks – Thank God for everything you have; the blessings you have received. Learn to thank God every day in every moment. If you place your focus on thanking God, then your focus cannot be misplaced on others around you.
- Stop Comparing ”“ There will always be someone who seems to have it all, but the reality is that no one does. Each person has their own set of issues, problems, and trials. If you meet someone who claims their life is perfect; then stay away from them, as they are not honest. Remember that social media sites are most often not real or they only portray the good. Celebrate other’s good but avoid comparing yourself.
- Values are Important ”“ Set your values correctly, making God your number one priority, and then surround yourself with others who have the same values. If you mistakenly surround yourself with those of different values, you will begin to question your own set and may find yourself in the trap of comparing your life to the lives of others.
- Choose Wise Friends ”“ Quality time spent with wise friends, who are grateful for their lives, can influence your own thoughts. Your spirit can be refreshed as you catch the contagious bug of gratitude.
- Celebrate with others ”“ Find the ability to rejoice in the blessings of others. Learn to be happy when you see others succeed, remembering that life is not a competition. When you can experience joy for someone else, you are truly overcoming envy.
- Be generous ”“ Learn to give of yourself; through time, money, and abilities. As you spend more time helping others, you will spend less time wanting what others have. As you realize the blessings you do have, you will experience the true way to fulfillment and a meaningful life.
The battle of envy can only be won by taking on the personal responsibility you have to God. Committing your life to a personal responsibility to God can be daunting, but working towards this goal can allow you to overcome the desires of envy. American author, James Alexander Thorn, wrote about the fear of responsibility; ”Have you ever had to paint some roof trim, high up? You get halfway up that 36-foot extension ladder and you start wondering about the ladder, its footing and your body weight. You stop and hug the ladder, looking neither up nor down. Your left leg begins a ridiculous but uncontrollable shuddering. At length you conquer that particular rung and inch your way to the next, then the next. Finally you’re at the top, clinging for your life. How can you take one hand off the ladder to use the paintbrush? But you do. Tight as a fiddle you begin. The sky is clear. The sun is nice. The thirsty wood soaks up the paint. You whistle and think positive thoughts and do a good job and forget about the height. You’ve learned an important lesson of life from this. No matter what higher responsibility you take on, it’s scary, very scary, until you start working.
So challenge yourself to work on a higher responsibility; your faith. Go against the worldly ways and put aside the envy of gains; whether they are just or unjust. Find yourself convicted to follow the ways of the Lord. Gain your strength and hope through the great motivation of eternity through faith, finding comfort by honoring God.
Evade envy and battle it to its death with the weapon of a personal responsibility to God.
Love in Christ,
”Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy. Never underestimate that.” Oliver Stone
The power of envy will take away the strength of hope if you allow it, so vow to not allow it to be stolen from you.
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Has envy ever consumed you? Do you battle the feelings of envy that come upon you while reading through the posts of social media? Have you used the weapon of responsibility against the sneaky ploys of envy? Join us in the discussion on battling the sin of envy.